Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thoughts On Raid Dropped Pets

Patch 5.3 introduces the first ever heroic mode-only raid dropped pet, but that shouldn't surprise anyone. After they included pets from current raid content on normal and LFR, it was inevitable. In the back of my head I knew it would come eventually, but a part of me was still hoping that Blizzard would decide against it.

Needless to say, I'm not a fan of the idea of a heroic mode-only dropped companion. I've held back and bit my tongue til now, but heck, I'm not even a huge fan of raid dropped pets in general. It leaves out the collectors that prefer individual play over anything else, at least until the content is updated to allow solo-clears. You may be able to collect the pet eventually when content is changed to allow for an individual to go at it alone, but when compared to other ways to get pets, the wait for "nerfed content" feels more like a punishment for not raiding than a reward.

Pet collecting and pet battling are both styles of gameplay that are individualistic. There's only ever one person involved in your collection and your battling. Sure, there are some situations where you may partner up with a friend to help each other look for a specific wild rare pet, but other than that, it's just you and your pets against an opponent.

With that in mind, it's just inconsiderate to force collectors into a situation where they have to rely on X number of other people to get a pet. And I say "force" because let's be honest, if you want to stay "highly competitive" or are a completionist, collecting every pet is not optional. To not collect what you can, when you can would go against the mentality of collecting and/or completing a collection. Yes, these raid pets are tradeable and cageable, meaning you can buy them off the AH, but not everyone is willing or able to spend that much gold on a few pets.

This makes the current content raid pets pretty exclusive to those that raid or those that are willing to trust 24 others in a LFR to assist in getting a pet. A pet that no one else will really care if you get or not. Yes, it's just mainly you that cares, so shouldn't it just require you to work on getting it?

When older content raid pets were released, I looked the other way. Blizzard changed the encounters for those raids to allow solo and/or smaller group clears. Even if you don't enjoy raiding or want to raid, the content was do-able. This meant a high chance for the majority to obtain these pets, raiders and pure collectors alike. They could go at it however they please, and there were options. Go alone? OK! Go with a small group of friends? OK! Not go at all and sit at the AH waiting for one to pop up? OK because it was farmable enough so that there would be at least a few up on the Auction House for a reasonable price.

Because of all of this this, it was acceptable to me. I knew it would be a slippery-slope though, and it wouldn't stop at just older content.

When Blizzard released the current content raid pets, it was borderline "not ok" for me. I think it's great that everyone has a chance to get the Throne of Thunder pets, so long as they're willing to subject themselves to the potential horror of LFR.

But what happens when this tier becomes outdated? What will happen when no one does the ToT LFR anymore or clears ToT in general? What about when the next expansion comes out and the ToT LFR becomes obsolete altogether? Will Blizzard nerf the content so that it can be cleared by an individual or a small group (less than 10)? If not, then I fear many will have to wait an expansion or two before ToT becomes "old content" and gets some re-tuning for solo clears.

Now add in a heroic mode-exclusive pet and you leave out even more players from obtaining this pet (for a while). At the very least, I hope it's 100% droprate for the small percentage of players who will actually get to see heroic mode this expansion.

The psychological drawback of adding these pets now rather than later, unlike in the case of the vanilla raid-pets, is that players will only see the fact that they can't get it any time soon. That feels more like a punishment/blow than a plus, even if in the long run players will have a chance at these pets eventually. Adding pets after content becomes outdated feels more like a reward and gift because the only obstacle in a person's way at that point is if they can out-gear/out-muster the old raid encounters.

In the case of vanilla raid pets: Adding pets into older content that can be cleared by a single player felt like a reward. It got people interested in seeing all those old raids again.

In the case of current content raid pets: Adding pets into current content and telling people to wait until the content gets nerfed doesn't feel like a reward. We're only human and short-sighted, so it's only natural that we will not react well when told "no, just wait".

Patience is a virtue, and yes, sometimes we just have to sit tight and wait it out. But there needs to be a balance when it comes to "rarity" and how difficult it is to obtain something. For pets that are RNG dropped based, making players (who don't raid, who don't have good RNG luck, and who can't spend gold on a raid pet) wait an expansion or two is a bit overkill in terms of difficulty. It's not even a "difficulty" level at that point. It's just a straight up roadblock, and makes you wonder whether or not the pets implemented into current raid content are there just to ensure people will come back and pay their subscriptions in a year or two.

Perhaps it would have been better to release these pets (normal/LFR and heroic-only) after Throne of Thunder turned into "old content", so if players desired to go solo, it would be viable. Not only would it serve as a way to get people interested in older content again, it would feel like a nice reward and new goal for collectors.

It just makes me sigh that pets would be complicated in such a way where players who play for the joy of collecting, get left out so easily. Raiders get their kicks from raiding and obtaining gear from those encounters. PVPers progress through battlegrounds and arenas. Both types of desired gameplay reward what the players are looking for. Collectors? Isn't it odd that collectors need to go through both the raiding run-around and sometimes PVP on top of other collecting gameplay?

In the end, although I don't agree with this pattern of raid pets, I'll still wind up trying to collect them. As I mentioned before, it's not optional for some, and because of that, we'll simply have to do things we're not entirely inclined to.


  1. I'm not too happy on the Heroic mode only pet coming out :( Overall I'm OK with LFR dropping ones but the heroic will require waiting through expansions or paying outrageous prices on AH... Oh well.

    1. @Pukanini: They've actually changed the Heroic-only pet and made it a Normal/Heroic-only pet. The other pet from the same boss comes from LFR-only. So there are still two exclusive pets, but at least the bosses that drop them are more accessible to a wider audience.


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